The building style of the United States is unique in many ways. Whoever travels the country can see many architectural currents ranging from the simplest to the most extreme. But perhaps the most striking is what we can see in large areas of land.
A rambler house (a name by which it is commonly known) is a sample of the urban standards established in 1900, but which has recently won back the heart of more than one inhabitant. Let’s get to know this style a bit.
Defining a rambler home
Ranch style home by Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co.
The first thing to note is that rambler does not refer to a car brand, but to an architectural style of the USA that dominated the market in 1920 and later between 1940 and 1970. This is also known as the ranch style.
Single story ranch style home by Design Platform
In conception, it is a mixture of modern design and the large livestock plots of the west of the country. It can be seen that it is intended as a spacious dream home in the horizontal area, choosing to dispose of multi-level homes.
Normally, this informal style is accompanied by some characteristic elements, such as “L”, “U” or simply rectangular open floor plan, large windows on the front facade (or the facade facing the street), and low ceilings level but with elongated eaves that extend throughout the perimeter of the house. Sliding doors are also a standard when it comes to creating ample spaces.
Large windows and sliding doors necessitate careful consideration regarding window treatments in a rambler house, and windows are often dressed with floor-to-ceiling custom curtains that also make the low ceilings look higher.
Did you ponder for once how these urban houses came to be called ‘ranches’ in the first place because apart from its spaciousness, it has nothing in common with farms? Well! Meanings loaded onto a word change from place to place.
Here in the United States, ranches are considered as wealth statements, not even remotely connected with an agrarian lifestyle.
How did they become that? Why are they so popular a century after their birth? Let’s review the history of rambler homes.
Rambler style homes, a history of the whole country
Single story home by Design Discoveries
During the 1930s, a large number of architectural movements that combined new construction technologies with previous knowledge were converging in the state of California.
A clash of cultures occurred in this place, such as the Spanish Colonial Renaissance, which was single-level houses that had a central courtyard without a roof, or the Craftsman movement.
Amid this process, a variant of the Spanish colonial style emerged that would be called the rambler style. In the southwest of the United States, temperatures are very high, so a single-story house with wide roofs served to mitigate much of the heat of the seasons. Somewhere in the process, the architects decided to abandon the O-style of the Spanish colony and decided that the floor plan to be L or U-shaped.
Ranch house by Lacy Keller Interiors
The economic reconstruction of the country allowed this style that occupied large areas of land to become very popular between 1950 and 1960, but little by little it lost popularity due to the great waste of space that these horizontal styles entailed, in addition that the heating costs were very high.
Gradually, the 2-story houses and the big buildings began to dominate the market, although we can still find some old rambler houses in good condition or failing that, tycoons that still appreciate the style. The open floor appearance of a rambler home is still a very striking style, and that built correctly can become as efficient as a current house.
Characteristics of a rambler home
Not everything is informal in this style. Although it emerged as a very original way to have a relaxed atmosphere in the suburbs of the twentieth century, they managed to adopt a couple of elements that made them different from country ranch homes.
Spacious and continuous floor plans
Ranch house courtyard by Tara Bussema
If they adopted something of the Spanish colonial style, these were the spacious floors with a central corridor that revolved around a central area. This type of distribution allowed to locate the rooms on the sides and leave a continuous airflow between them.
Additionally, the rooms are large, ventilated, and with a good source of natural light. The social areas did not have notable separations, so the private areas of the rambler home were practically contiguous.
A lot of horizontal space, little vertical
One story ranch house by Mastercraft NW
With so much horizontal space, there was no need to build a second floor, although at some point they were added. This design benefits especially those who do not want or cannot climb stairs since everything you need is on a single floor.
An immense facade parallel to the street
One story ranch home by Valerie McCaskill Dickman
Before this style, the great majority of the facades of the homes were thin and tall, with the rooms towards the bottom. Rambler homes changed this since the dimensions of the facade that directly faced the street became twice the depth of the house. That is, if the house was 10 meters deep, the front facade measured 20 meters.
Converging with nature
Ranch house by Vision Homes & Remodeling
In order not to get away from its peasant origins, ramblers’ homes sought to create a link with nature, so they stood out for having large windows or sliding glass doors. People never felt suffocated inside them.
This was also the cause of the backyard gaining so much importance. The homes until then separated the backyard with walls from the rest of the house, but that disappeared with the arrival of this cooler style.
What is the appeal of the rambler homes?
All owners of a rambler home agree that they have certain characteristics that make them more comfortable to inhabit, such as:
- Rambler style homes are usually in established neighborhoods, so green areas and paths are included in each corner. They are places rich in history.
- Maintenance is easier since you only have to dedicate time and effort to a single floor.
- The internal distribution is simple and can be expanded almost without any problem since it will be enough to attach a new rectangular room at some end.
- The clear roads between the green areas and the rambler home allow us to enjoy nature from any position of the house. Thanks to its construction in O, L, or U, the central courtyard will provide us with communication with each area.
- For older people or those with walking difficulties, these single-story houses are perfect.
With some of the advantages known, we can finally see examples of people’s inventiveness to create the best ranch homes.
Popular types of rambler homes
In the United States, it is common to see a mixture of old and new styles used to create a dream home like this. Even the rambler style has its variants, although all remain recognizable within the architecture of the twentieth century. These are just some of the most characteristic styles that have their personalities.
Split-Level Ranch Style House
It has three levels if we include the ground floor. This is a way to divide the rooms, the kitchen and the living room with a couple of stairs. It’s not the usual one story California ranch house that the architect Cliff May has envisioned but it’s a nice development.
California ranch style
Image source: curbed
Raised Ranch style house
This type of rambler style is coupled with an additional level, and the name is attributed to the fact that the ground floor is slightly raised from the ground so that the entrance has a small staircase.
Suburban Ranch Style House
Image source: Latimes
After World War II, these ranch style homes became extremely popular for mass construction. They were reduced versions of the California versions, this time built with concrete slabs.
Storybook Rambler Style Homes
Image source: Housekaboodle
Some even call them Cinderella’s ranch houses because of the number of details so delicate that they adorn the different facades. The structure protrudes from the walls to be a fundamental part of the decoration, the glass panels have more complex shapes than the typical squares, and the additional ornaments are the standard of this style.
Looking for a calm life
Image source: Western Design International
The rambler style homes can be compared to jazz music. It is something quiet, which not everyone likes, but with good appreciation, you will know how to get its charm. A calm life surrounded by nature is what the owner of these types of homes is looking for.
Contact with nature is fundamental in ranch homes. You may not be able to live without a barbecue every weekend, and for that, there is nothing better than breathing fresh air from a huge backyard. That is why we invite you to give these homes away from big cities a chance and start a quiet retreat.
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